Teko Order Under Attack
A RENEWED attack on the court order that froze millions of dollars worth of assets allegedly tainted by corruption with the provision of Chinese-made X-ray scanning equipment to the Ministry of Finance was launched in the High Court in Windhoek yesterday.
The order under which assets belonging and connected to Public Service Commissioner Teckla Lameck, her business partner, Kongo Mokaxwa, and Chinese national Yang Fan have been frozen in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act since July 6 should be lifted, lawyer Jeremy Gauntlett argued before judge President Petrus Damaseb and Judge Collins Parker yesterday.
With Gauntlett and Raymond Heathcote, his co-counsel on behalf of Lameck, Mokaxwa and Yang, having wrapped up their arguments, another
Cape Town senior counsel, Jeremy Muller, who is representing the Prosecutor General, is set to argue the PG's case today.
The arguments from Gauntlett, Heathcote and Muller focus on the question whether an interim assets restraint order that was given by the Judge President on July 6 should now be made a final order, or if it should be lifted, with the effect that the frozen assets would be returned to the control of Lameck, Mokaxwa, Yang and other parties cited in the case.
The assets include bank accounts, fixed properties like houses and farms, and various cars.
Lameck (48), Mokaxwa (30) and Yang (39) have been charged with counts of fraud, corruption and bribery in connection with a multi-million dollar deal for the provision of Chinese-made X-ray scanning equipment to the Ministry of Finance that has so far already earned them a "commission" of over N$42 million.
With the supplier of the Chinese X-ray equipment, Nuctech Company, and a Namibian close corporation in Lameck and Mokaxwa are the only two members, Teko Trading, having signed a collection of agreements that supposedly appointed Teko Trading as the Chinese company's local agent and consultant, Teko Trading is set to earn a total of US$12,828 million (about N$97,2 million at the current exchange rate) from Nuctech's X-ray equipment supply contract with the Finance Ministry.
The contract has a total price tag of US$55,348 million. Yang was Nuctech's representative in southern Africa. According to Lameck and Yang himself, he at the same time also worked for Teko Trading, which had signed an agreement with Nuctech to act as the Chinese company's agent and consultant in Namibia.
Gauntlett argued yesterday that the Prevention of Organised Crime Act requires that when deciding whether to confirm an interim asset restraint order the court should consider whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a confiscation order would be made against a defendant, after the defendant had been convicted on criminal charges, at a later stage.
In this case, there is no evidence before the court on an offence allegedly committed, except for a claim that Lameck contravened the Public Service Commission Act by not getting the President's consent for her to do other paid work outside her job as a Public Service Commissioner, Gauntlett said.
According to Lameck, though, she declared her involvement in other businesses, including Teko Trading, in a letter to the President in December last year.
According to the Prosecutor General, this notification of the President is a far cry from actually getting the President's consent to do paid work outside her official position.
There is nothing to show that Lameck corruptly contravened the Public Service Commission Act, Gauntlett argued.
As a result of that, chances are that the corruption charge against her, Mokaxwa and Yang would ultimately not stand up in court, he indicated.
Lameck and Mokaxwa have been released on bail of N$50 000 each after spending about five weeks in custody following their arrest in the week after the assets restraint order was given.
Yang has been released on bail of N$250 000.